Vittoria Bussi came within 405 metres of breaking the women’s UCI Hour Record, with an attempt made at altitude in Mexico last Friday (October 6, 2017). The Italian, a doctor of pure mathematics, and formerly a member of the Servetto Footon UCI squad, came tantalisingly close to bettering the mark of 47.980km, established last year by Evelyn Stevens.
Bussi managed 47.576km, an impressive effort by any measure, but especially so given a bout of ill health in the lead up to the attempt. She had worked closely with Endura and its aerodynamics partner Drag2Zero, to develop a custom D2Z Encapsulator Suit, handmade in Scotland. Additionally, Bussi wore Endura’s D2Z Aeroswitch helmet.
A small delegation from Endura’s headquarters in Livingston worked alongside Bussi and Drag2Zero founder Simon Smart inside the Aguascalientes Velodrome, as the final hours before the attempt ticked down.
Endura has an impressive history with the UCI Hour Record. In May 2015, Alex Dowsett (Movistar Team), claimed the men’s record from BMC Racing’s Rohan Dennis, by recording a distance of 52.937km at the Manchester Velodrome. Nine months later, Bridie O’Donnell set a new record for women by recording a distance of 46.882km in the Super-Drome, Adelaide.
Nairo Quintana capped a pair of strong performances in the mini-season of Italian one-day races that provide the traditional end point to the season, by finishing ninth at Il Lombardia.
‘The race of the falling leaves’ is one of the five ‘Monuments’ of professional cycling, and the Colombian showed himself among the strongest riders in the 247km race from Bergamo to Como, on a course punctuated by 4,000m of climbing.
When the riders hit the Civiglio climb, a 4.2km ramp, with an average gradient of 9.7 per cent and a peak of 14 per cent, the Colombian looked comfortable in holding a watching brief at the head of the group of favourites.
Quintana remained prominent as the big guns pursued two high-profile escapees - Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) and Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) - into Como. While they were successful in reeling in Pinot, Nibali remained clear to take a second victory at Il Lombardia. Movistar Team’s Colombian leader finished ninth, just 42 seconds behind Nibali.
Movistar Team had been active earlier in the race, too. With just 73km to go, Jesus Herrada set off in pursuit of an early group of escapees, and was swiftly joined by a select group of high-quality riders, including team-mate Winner Anacona.
Anacona, however, was involved in a high-speed collision with a wall, and had to be helped back on to his feet by team manager Eusebio Unzué, who swiftly evacuated the team car to help the stricken Colombian.
Quintana’s performance as the race reached its denouement bodes well for next season. After finishing second overall at the Giro d’Italia, where he won stage nine, and taking overall victory at Tirenno-Adriatico, the Colombian can look back with satisfaction upon his 2017 campaign.
Such are his standards, however, and his status among a handful of riders who can justifiably claim to be the best in the world, that he will regard his Tour de France campaign as a disappointment. Quintana has already said that the Tour will be his sole focus next year.
Wheelchair racer Samantha Kinghorn, the reigning world champion in the 100m and 200m T53 class, and world record holder over 200m, completed her first marathon distance race yesterday (Sunday October 8, 2017).
Kinghorn, Team Scotland's 2017 Scottish Sportsperson of the Year, completed the gruelling 26.2-mile distance on a course in Chicago, laying down an important marker in her bid to qualify for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Kinghorn is intent on representing Scotland in Australia next year, even if it means reinventing herself as an athlete. Her career has so far been defined by her incredible sprinting prowess on the track. By completing her first marathon in a time that surpassed her expectations, she has taken a significant step on the road to ‘Gold Coast 2018’.